By Alejandro Batalla ’21, Jesus Guerrero ’21, Ariana Padilla ’21, and Argenis Salgado ’21
It has been a bit over two months since the new freshman class had to come to the selection of choosing one elective out of the four options offered by the school. Students had to pick between Band, Choir, Journalism,
and MCJROTC. They have these electives for the next four years of high school. For some students, Band has many intriguing instruments.
Band students selected their own instruments. The various choices of instruments were eye appealing to those entering Band, but here is the perspective of a percussion player in Band. His name is Matthew Flores and he plays the snare drum. Here is how he feels about playing in Band. “I’m pretty comfortable with my instrument, I’m playing the snare drum. I went from mallet percussion and then, I guess you can say, I promoted from mallet percussion to the snare drum,” Flores said. Flores also talked about the way he feels about playing the snare drum, “It’s a really easy and cool instrument. I don’t like it because it’s easy, I like it because it’s fun and it’s simple.”
More about the freshmen selecting new instruments is the way they’re going to adjust with that new instrument. When using a new instrument, many vocal warm ups are used before some people start playing their instrument in class. This is a very common exercise that must happen so students get used to their instrument and start picking up on what the instructor, Ben Das, is teaching them. Students need to follow the rhythm and the beat with everyone else so they can sound on point.
Though the excitement of being a new band student and picking an instrument feels good, it doesn’t feel good when students don’t adjust quickly. Most people who don’t adjust to learning their instrument have to go practice individually in the back, which is a very rare sight. There are only a few that don’t adjust immediately and have to go through this process.
Students in band work as a group to synergize together to make a better sound. Students must be attendant and responsible for their part. In band synergizing is key to producing a brilliant show for people to watch, hear, and enjoy. Students have to prepare on their instruments and notes in order to prepare for future events, such as concerts and talent shows. This involves teamwork in order to put up a great show. Some students picked an instrument that is easy to play as Jose Martinez stated, “I like my instrument. It is one of the easiest, some people choose their favorite instrument to play, and [it’s] really hard to make a mistake.”
Some Band students think that their instruments are easy to learn as David Orozco said, “It’s not that hard to use” talking about his clarinet. Students are amused by their instruments if they are brand new to them as Orozco also said, “What noises it could make that I didn’t even know.” Orozco is in the third period Band class.
As of now no new instruments have been added yet as Martinez said, “No instruments were added.” But students still make due with the instruments they have at their disposal playing and learning new notes for their instruments and mastering them for future events. Looking for instruments can be tough since there aren’t that many options. Some students that are in band enjoy the easy instruments but some like a challenge.
The Band environment can be affected by the members. As some of the Journalism students went to observe the Band class in early October, some students were tired so they couldn’t all synergize well together.
Though some are very tired in the morning, the afternoon is more active and is an advantage instead of having Band in the morning.
Some instruments, like percussion, have their own section. Percussion goes on at different times and practices while the rest of the Band practices as well. Each section is divided by who plays what instrument and the only people standing up are the percussion players. This really is useful for the ones sitting down, those who chose the tuba don’t have to stand up with the big instrument in their hands.
After all, most students think Das is a good teacher for Band. Most students say he goes very well paced and has a way of teaching Band very smoothly and calmly. Das uses a sound system that students also must follow with their instruments. This sound helps the whole class synergize together.
The students in Band have to go through a long process of learning all this new stuff to them, but at the end it’s worth doing what they chose to do. Students in Band choose their favorite instrument and have to start playing it even if it doesn’t sounds right or not, because sometimes it would be hard to change their instruments and learn a whole new instrument.
Now onto the topic of homework and notes on the instruments. Most homework is just to take notes on videos and on their instruments, via multiple Band students. All videos are on CDs attached to the notesheet book that comes with the instrument that the students chose. The homework is all practice and to teach them at home and not just at school. This homework helps them know what’s going on in the next class somewhat like other classes. Das also likes to test them on what they’ve learned, so that really puts them on their feet.